At Slimbridge we follow a structured phonics and spelling programme which is designed to enable all children to develop effective reading and writing skills. All children from Reception to Year 6 take part in a phonics/spelling session for the first twenty minutes of each day, working at a level appropriate for them.

We follow a systematic synthetic teaching approach to phonics throughout EYFS and KS1. During their time at Little Otters our youngest children are introduced to Phase 1 of the programme which aids them in developing their phonological awareness. Once the children start in our Reception class, they begin Phase 2 as they are taught sounds using the interactive AnimaPhonics materials. As the children move through KS1, they progress through the synthetic phonic programme, learning how to read and write a range of words and phonemes. They are taught in carefully chosen groupings to ensure every child can reach their potential, and they are regularly assessed to ensure that they are in an appropriate group.

Once a child is secure with Phase 5 of the programme, they move onto our spelling programme (typically in Year 2 or 3). We use the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ programme to build on the phonics skills the children have developed and to introduce them to new spelling patterns and features, such as prefixes and suffixes.

By Year 4 the children have an excellent grounding in the phonics and spelling skills they need, and this is built on by the Class 4 & 5 teachers. At this stage, spelling patterns are revised, more complex words are introduced and there is a greater focus on grammatical structures in preparation for the Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar test which children sit in Year 6.

Extra support with phonics and spelling is provided for children as necessary. Teacher Assistants & the SENCo work with children one to one or in small groups to deliver intervention programmes (these currently include Dancing Bears, Apples and Pears and Bear Necessities).